Mifepristone and misoprostol are two medicines which, if taken in the correct sequence, cause termination of pregnancy (abortion): the so-called medical abortion .


Mifepristone is an antiprogestogen steroid, it works by blocking the activity of progesterone , a substance that a woman’s body produces to help continue the pregnancy. Misoprostol next works by contracting the uterus (uterus) and relaxing the opening of the cervix, causing the contents in the uterus to leak out of the body.

Mifepristone and misoprostol should not be used in ectopic pregnancies. In these cases, the ectopic pregnancy could end suddenly, causing very serious bleeding.

How it is taken

You will be given 1 tablet of mifepristone 200 milligrams (mg), which you will be asked to swallow with water in the presence of your doctor at the surgery or clinic.

Side effects

Mifepristone can cause side effects:

  • abdominal cramps
  • severe infection
  • swelling of the lips, throat and tongue or face
  • anemia
  • anxiety or depression
  • backache
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • QT interval prolongation.
  • fainting
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • leg pain
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • pelvic pain
  • stomach ache
  • feeling tired
  • uterine bleeding
  • uterine cramps
  • vaginal discharge
  • vaginitis
  • sinusitis
  • weakness

Common side effects of mifepristone are:

  • vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • cramps
  • pelvic pain
  • burning, itching or vaginal discharge
  • headache

Possible interactions

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are taking this medicine – these foods could change how much of this medicine is absorbed by your body.

Do not take any other medicines, supplements, natural remedies unless discussed with your doctor.

Drug interactions can change how drugs work or increase the risk of serious side effects.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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